Puritans Weigh In on Marriage Debate

From David Hackett Fischer, Albion’s Seed:

The Church of England had taught that matrimony was a sacred union that must be solemnized by a priest. Anglicans also insisted that after the sacred knot was firmly tied, it could never be “put asunder” by mortal hands. Exceptions were allowed for monarchs and great lords, but for ordinary English men and women there was virtually no possibility of divorce in the seventeenth century.

The Puritans of New England rejected all of these Anglican ideas. They believed that marriage was not a religious ceremony but a civil contract. They required that this covenant must be “agreed” or “executed” (not “performed” or “solemnized”) before a magistrate, and not a minister. They also insisted that if the terms of the marriage covenant were broken, then the union could be ended by divorce. (77-78)

Advertisements

63 thoughts on “Puritans Weigh In on Marriage Debate

  1. Bingo. Show me where in the bible a marriage must be officiated by a religious authority (or where a religious authority is authorized to officiate a marriage).

    If it were a biblical requirement, wouldn’t pre-married converts have to be re-married?

    Like

  2. DGH – I have no opinion on this. You’re the historian here. Is this an accurate representation of the Puritan’s position on marriage? Doesn’t seem wholly accurate at first glance.

    Rube – 1 Cor 7:12-14

    Like

  3. So I’m curious. Would a reformed pastor be out of line to refuse to officiate a wedding between a convicted pedophile out on probation who is forbidden from having contact with kids for life? Even if both were members of thechurch? What if couple also intended to have kids?

    Maybe the puritans were onto something and Douglas Wilson should have just said no?

    Like

  4. I’m a single guy, so I have some questions to push it further. I am genuinely interested in what others are thinking about this. Though I hesitate to ask, I’ll go ahead anyway.

    If it is a civil contract, then what right has a minister or church body to exercise some sort of force? Perhaps general advise can be given earnestly, but what force or church discipline can be exercised in such a case? Seems that a person can divorce without facing possible church discipline, or even marry someone outside the faith and not face discipline. There are examples in the Bible of people being told what to do, yet no discipline is associated with it’s neglect. Can marriage and divorce fall in this category? Yes, I know there are many assumptions being made.

    Must the TERMS of the marriage covenant be the same for all, or can they differ so that divorce in one instance be acceptable, but not so if not specifically stated in the terms? A kind of relativizing of marriage. And could continued agreement with marriage be a term itself?

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t these the same Puritans who set out to make a distinctively Christian society? So though they may have distinguished between civil magistrates and church bodies, I don’t think it was with the idea that the civil magistrates could operate while ignoring biblical imperatives. Most I know had no problem with the magistrate forcing distinctively Christian ideas and punishing heretics.

    Like

  5. Well, David Hackett Fischer at least weighed in on something. Didn’t see no Puritans’ weight, though. Man, I sure wish I lived in a more Anglican country, or at least Episcopalian–such places have so much more respect for marriage, and freedom and stuff. Darned Puritans ruined it all!

    Like

  6. The Puritans of New England rejected all of these Anglican ideas. They believed that marriage was not a religious ceremony but a civil contract. They required that this covenant must be “agreed” or “executed” (not “performed” or “solemnized”) before a magistrate, and not a minister. They also insisted that if the terms of the marriage covenant were broken, then the union could be ended by divorce. (77-78)

    What are the terms of that contract? Dr. Calvinism: A History does not say.

    We get the adultery part* but beyond that, not even one of Dr. Hart’s sycophants has the first bloody idea what he’s on about. Although they agree with his every word. Nice racket you have going here, Darryl. 😉
    _______________

    *

    But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

    Like

  7. Alberto, lying is punishable by church courts even if someone lies only in the civil realm, right? Not sure why divorce has to be a church institution for divorce to be a matter of church discipline.

    Like

  8. vd, t, if your so hard core on divorces, what’s up with church men putting asunder what God joins together (annulment)? Talk about usurping divine authority.

    No biggie for you though. No authority could get you to go to Mass.

    Like

  9. Based on what has been said by some Conservative Christians about marriage and the state, the Puritan approach is a little counter intuitive. Perhaps that is because of the differences between the Puritans then and many American Conservative Christians today. Still, the Puritan approach is simply the other side of the coin from what some Conservative Christians are advocating. The question I have is this: Why do some feel the urgency to change how the state and the Church are related in the performance of marriages?

    Like

  10. if your so hard core on divorces, what’s up with church men putting asunder what God joins together (annulment)? Talk about usurping divine authority.

    Is it obvious to anyone else that annulment is all about the church dogmatizing an unbiblical position (no divorce ever) and then finding a workaround to deal with practical and even theological realities without having to say “We were wrong”?

    Like

  11. Alberto, fornication is certainly legal but does that really stop elders from bringing spiritual force on its practice among church members? Just because marriage is grounded in creation and should thus be carried out with that priority in mind doesn’t seem to preclude spiritual bearing. There is overlap.

    Like

  12. Alberto, you’re making this too hard. If the magistrate convicts a church member of a crime, the church may also discipline for the same thing. Although the church may not incarcerate, it may impose its sanctions. Likewise the church doesn’t issue marriage licenses or serve as a divorce court but it may take action within its jurisdiction and according to its sanctions.

    Like

  13. Ok, there is overlap where both churches and magistrates have influence and can use some kind of force; I said I was making some assumptions.

    To be more precise and go back to to one question I raised, why must a divorce lead to discipline (assuming a case of “irreconcilable differences”)? There are many sins listed in the Scriptures which are overlooked at times, or things that are neglected. Why discipline divorce cases? I can see this for a pastor, due to the qualifications listed in the NT, but why a regular church member?

    I’m not saying that marriage has to be a church institution; I’ve never believed that. I’ve never viewed an unbeliever’s marriage as anythings less compared to a Christian couple’s marriage. Calling marriage a church institution sounds more like something claimed by some Roman Catholics in the religious realm, or libertarians in the political realm. Unbelievers of all sorts marry and we still view that as marriage. My point concerning the Puritans is that using some of their ideas for our context does not fit well due to their context and the nature of what they were opposing; that seems clear in their quest to make a Christian society in New England in which magistrates could punish people that did not conform to distinctively Christian ideas, and even more narrow interpretations affirmed by Puritans (outlawing Christmas).

    I ended up running into something that I never knew about the Puritans. They seemed to allow women to divorce impotent men, or more generally they allowed for divorce where marital relations could not be performed or were unsatisfactory. Here is a quote from an article:

    Given the Puritan view of marriage as a civil contract rather than a sacrament,
    Massachusetts and Connecticut had the most liberal divorce laws of all
    the British mainland colonies. Both granted divorce on the grounds of male
    sexual incapacity, as did the colonies of New Haven and Plymouth before
    their respective mergers with Connecticut and Massachusetts in 1665 and
    1691. The divorce cases discussed below are from 1639 to 1711, roughly the
    period during which the seventeenth-century Massachusetts and Connecticut
    county court systems dealt with divorce. Although New Haven alone had
    codified divorce statutes, little difference existed between the two court systems’
    handling of petitions for divorces based on male sexual incapacity.

    Although the most frequently used legal grounds for divorce in seventeenth-century
    New England were desertion and bigamy or adultery, about
    one in six divorce petitions filed by women involved charges of male sexual
    incapacity. Owing to the loss and incompleteness of records, it is difficult to
    estimate with accuracy the number of divorce cases involving incapacity
    charges, but, of the roughly eighty petitions from wives in Connecticut, New
    Haven, Plymouth, and Massachusetts Bay Colonies, fourteen involve charges
    of male sexual incapacity. Of these petitions, six resulted in annulments, four
    in separations, two were rejected, and the results of the remaining two are
    unknown. It is always risky to extrapolate from court cases, but they afford
    glimpses of communal norms and even behaviors. Some extant divorce
    records contain rich testimony, not only by divorcing husbands and wives
    but also by kinfolk and neighbors, that reveals popular as well as legal attitudes
    toward male sexual incapacity. Thus, although the number of cases is
    small, statements of witnesses point to a larger network of participants and
    to standards of male sexual performance and manhood.

    End of quote
    http://www.jstor.org/stable/2674233?origin=crossref&seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

    It’s an interesting read, where at points I thought about the Puritans, “That’s stupid.” Fair or unfair, it was my first thought at times. I also noticed the article referred to annulments being done by them as well.

    So to reiterate, the Puritan mind was from a very different context than ours.

    Like

  14. Alberto, if marrying in the Lord is prescribed, and if prescribed then its violation grounds for discipline, is it really a stretch to say that divorcing in the Lord is as well?

    But while they may have the basic groundings right (marriage grounded in creation, not redemption), why are the Puritans so hopping weird on sex? Divorce on the grounds of impotence? Puritan descendant David Murray follows the crazy train by suggesting with a straight face he’d corner his future son-in-law on whether he’s the master of his domain. Meanwhile, the wider culture comes in for criticism. Oh boy.

    http://headhearthand.org/blog/2014/08/20/you-dont-have-a-porn-problem/

    Like

  15. Calvin agreed with Augustine that ‘the church” should tell the magistrates in Geneva what the Ten Commandments said about marriage, and expect them to enforce it.

    So being more “secular” is good, but how do we now get the secular state to avoid making itself sacred without at the same time offering an alternative “sacred”?

    http://douthat.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/10/07/ghosts-in-a-secular-age/?emc=edit_ty_20151008&nl=opinion&nlid=20271556&_r=0

    Like

  16. Oh, it gets worse Zrim. If you read the linked article, it will go on to refer to an instance where a woman accused her husband of not being up to task, and he proceeded to defend himself (Women can be cruel). A group of “judicious” men were then selected to check the man out.

    As for that blog you linked, it helps reinforce my happiness as a single adult.

    Like

  17. D. G. Hart
    Posted October 9, 2015 at 6:59 am | Permalink
    vd, t, if your so hard core on divorces, what’s up with church men putting asunder what God joins together (annulment)? Talk about usurping divine authority.

    No biggie for you though. No authority could get you to go to Mass.

    Dr. Hart doesn’t seem to know what “annulment” means, so he goes on the personal attack. This is not why Arnn pays him any bucks at all.

    Like

  18. Alberto,

    You said, “Calling marriage a church institution sounds more like something claimed by some Roman Catholics in the religious realm, or libertarians in the political realm.”

    Many of the most vocal libertarians right now are Roman Catholic, so it makes sense that when the speak about political things, they say that marriage is from the Church. However, I think any libertarian would not object to the idea of marriages outside of a church for political reasons. A better way to describe marriage for the libertarian is that it is a social arrangement that ought not be defined or regulated by the government.

    Like

  19. TVD: Dr. Hart doesn’t seem to know what “annulment” means

    think he’s probably just trying to find it in the Bible.

    The annulment process says, “From the very beginning, something was lacking that was necessary for this relationship to be called a marriage.”Of course, the Church recognizes the couple’s initial love for one another. It also realizes that this love led to some form of relationship. In addition, the Church acknowledges that there was a valid civil contract and recognizes that the spouses were lawfully married in the eyes of the state. All these civil and legal realities the Church recognizes. But the annulment process looks at an entirely different realm — the spiritual — which falls within the Catholic Church’s domain of competence to judge. http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/resources/life-and-family/marriage/catholic-marriage-and-annulments/

    In order for a marriage to be valid in the eyes of the Church, there must be at least: a minimal knowledge of what constitutes sacramental marriage; adequate maturity on the part of the spouse to understand the seriousness of lifelong commitment; the ability to make a mature and responsible decision in accepting the duties that are to be assumed with marriage ;freedom from internal or external pressures and fears. (from togetherforlifeonline)

    Like

  20. @DGH

    Thanks for bringing this to the attention of your readers. Calvin and Luther felt much the same way. Calvin famously compared the spiritual significance of marriage to that of the art of hair-cutting. The prevailing views of marriage held by most evangelicals have their origin in Freudian social theory. After all, “family values” is just a slightly Christianized version of Freud’s familialism.

    @Publius

    I see this as perfectly consistent with I Corinthians 7. Paul says that it’s better to be single and celibate. For those who have difficulty exercising that disciple, there’s marriage. Paul commends marriage as a practical construct, e.g., for the practical moral assistance of those who would otherwise fail in the pursuit of celibacy (although it probably need not be limited to such). Even so, Paul maintains a rather dim view of sexual desire, commending marriage as a practical means of restraining that desire. Nowhere does Paul commend the “sex romp” view of marriage that’s widely promoted in evangelicalism today (e.g., CBMW, Tim Keller, the Baylys, Gospel Coalition, Driscoll, etc.). (See Abigail Rine’s recent piece in First Things.) Sadly enough, Gary Becker’s “A Theory of Marriage” probably comes closer to a Pauline view of marriage than 99% of evangelical musings on the subject. What evangelicals promote as “traditional marriage” is an institution that has its origins in various Freudian social theories that were popularized in the 1940s and 1950s. When reading the Baylys (or Tim Keller, Denny Burk, etc.), notice how freely they exchange the Pauline term “natural” (which, in that context, is best rendered as “procreative”) with the Freudian concept of “normal” sexuality. Something tells me that Paul was not channeling Freud in Romans 1. To the contrary, he was passing judgment on all sex absent a specific intent to procreate–same-sex sex as well as opposite-sex sex.

    Daniel Kirk appears to have been terminated by Fuller. From what’s been released publicly, it appears that this occurred primarily because of Daniel’s writings on the topic of homosexuality. The irony is this: Daniel’s writings on the subject are fairly consistent with the Christian church’s historic interpretation of Paul, i.e., that Paul’s condemnations in Romans 1 flow from his objection to the non-procreative simulation of procreative acts, not from some alleged objection to the “unnatural” nature of non-heterosexual desire. Kirk’s work therefore begs the question: On what theologically sound basis can evangelicals ignore Paul’s condemnations when it comes to promoting a view of marriage centered around recreational sex? In fact, the “biblical manhood” crowd generally promotes the notion that recreational sex is central to Christian discipleship. (See http://www.baylyblog.com in 12/24/14.) So, it seems that Kirk was terminated, not for suggesting that Paul would approve of consensual gay sex within the context of a committed relationship, but for noting that Paul generally disapproves of all recreational sex (including recreational sex within the context of opposite-sex marriage). In other words, he pointed out that the Fuller administration’s “traditional” view of marriage and sex is no less revisionist of Paul than that of Tony Campolo and David Gushee. In other words, Kirk revealed them to be bigots rather than traditionalists.

    Like

  21. Sorry, wrong date on Baylyblog. It was 12/25/14, and the operative quote is: “Sex is a calling from God and is foundational to Christian discipleship, so the man who says he’s a celibate effeminate is a rebel against God.”

    While this is stated rather stridently, I see no substantive difference between this and Tim Keller’s recent defense of his opposition to same-sex marriage coupled with his embrace of opposite-sex marriages centered around lots of recreational sex.

    As Carl Trueman once noted, it’s far better to be an outdated fundie than a bigot. In a strange twist of events, the culture has actually become far more accepting of fundamentalist separatism (of which the 2K positions seems to be a form) than it is of evangelicalism. As one who resolutely loathes evangelicalism (and generally likes the notion of religious separatism), I take a certain joy in that.

    Like

  22. Bobby,

    Even so, Paul maintains a rather dim view of sexual desire, commending marriage as a practical means of restraining that desire. Nowhere does Paul commend the “sex romp” view of marriage that’s widely promoted in evangelicalism today (e.g., CBMW, Tim Keller, the Baylys, Gospel Coalition, Driscoll, etc.).

    I think that’s overstating things. I agree that Paul doesn’t commend the “sex romp” view of marriage. But he had Song of Solomon in his Bible as well, and that’s all about sexual desire. Viewing celibate singled as a better estate because it prevents some worries that make serving Christ more difficult is hardly taking a dim view of marriage. Both are good; but in light of the inbreaking of the kingdom one may be better, at least for some.

    The irony is this: Daniel’s writings on the subject are fairly consistent with the Christian church’s historic interpretation of Paul, i.e., that Paul’s condemnations in Romans 1 flow from his objection to the non-procreative simulation of procreative acts, not from some alleged objection to the “unnatural” nature of non-heterosexual desire. Kirk’s work therefore begs the question: On what theologically sound basis can evangelicals ignore Paul’s condemnations when it comes to promoting a view of marriage centered around recreational sex?

    But this assumes that the Christian church’s traditional view is correct. Here I think looking to the natural order is helpful. If the sole purpose of sex is procreation, what is the point of pleasure centers in the sexual organs. Just build people with an instinct to procreate; it doesn’t have to feel good. You also have the issue that people experience sexual desire even when they are infertile. And fertile couples experience desire at points where conceiving a child is impossible—i.e., when the woman hasn’t ovulated and while the woman is already pregnant.

    I suppose one could chalk some of that up to the fall, but there’s plenty in Scripture that commends sexual desire as a positive good, particularly in the wisdom literature.

    In fact, the “biblical manhood” crowd generally promotes the notion that recreational sex is central to Christian discipleship. (See http://www.baylyblog.com in 12/24/14.) So, it seems that Kirk was terminated, not for suggesting that Paul would approve of consensual gay sex within the context of a committed relationship, but for noting that Paul generally disapproves of all recreational sex (including recreational sex within the context of opposite-sex marriage). In other words, he pointed out that the Fuller administration’s “traditional” view of marriage and sex is no less revisionist of Paul than that of Tony Campolo and David Gushee. In other words, Kirk revealed them to be bigots rather than traditionalists.

    Kirk is clearly squishy, and not simply because he might be questioning whether Paul is condemning all non-procreative sexual acts. If you read a post like this, he’s asking questions like: “Should our experience with faithful LGBTQABCEFZW people impact our view of what is acceptable and what isn’t.” That’s the classic liberal question that’s starting with experience, not the exegesis of Scripture.

    Fuller is hardly a bastion of conservatism. Bigotry has nothing to do with it.

    Like

  23. Ali
    Posted October 10, 2015 at 10:26 am | Permalink
    TVD: Dr. Hart doesn’t seem to know what “annulment” means

    think he’s probably just trying to find it in the Bible.

    Divorce is in the Bible. Jesus forbids it. Protestantism permits it. The point holds. Annulment is a separate discussion.

    The rest of Darryl’s game is, well just a game. Don’t get sucked into it.

    Like

  24. @Robert

    I don’t read Song of Songs as promoting recreational sex. And neither does Paul. After all, Paul was well aware of the Song of Songs when he wrote, so it’s unreasonable to conclude that Paul had somehow failed to consider its teachings when he penned the letters to the Roman and Corinthian churches.

    Now, perhaps you’re saying that Paul was wrong, or that his pronouncements should be viewed as descriptions of what was normal for his one culture but not something that is normative for us today. Fine. That is, after all, what evangelicals are doing when they promote recreational sex within the context of marriage. But when you make that exegetical leap, you forfeit the ability to say that Paul “clearly” condemns gay sex. In Romans 1, Paul does not mean “natural” to refer to refer to heterosexuality. After all, concepts such as heterosexuality, homosexuality, and “normal” sexuality were utterly foreign to Paul’s world. Those are all Freudian concepts that have no progeny at all before the late 1800s, and weren’t popularized until the 1940s and 1950s. So, you’ve elected to reject Paul’s view of sexuality in favor of that of Freudian social theorists. But I fail to see why such an election is entitled to any more deference than rejecting Paul in favor of Judith Butler.

    I’m not suggesting that Kirk is a conservative. He’s not. Even so, his work has illuminated the fact that the evangelical opponents of same-sex marriage often lie about the nature of their opposition. After all, they have long since discarded Paul in favor of a revisionist Freudian view of marriage. So, they are being disingenuous when they suggest that their opposition to same-sex marriage rests on biblical or historically Christian reasons.

    Moreover, I think Kirk has a point re: listening. When most gay people describe their reasons for coming out, their experience of persistent sexual attractions to members of the same sex does not figure prominently. In most cases, their coming out is something of a protest against social pressure to conform to conform to sexualized Freudian notions of what it means to be masculine or feminine. In fact, many people who come out as gay do not stick with the label. In fact, many who come out as gay eventually settle down into opposite-sex relationships. In that sense, their coming out had less to do with a desire to engage in gay sex and more to do with a desire to be free of the culture’s (and, sadly, the church’s) sexualized Freudian scripts for how to perform masculinity or femininity. But evangelicals tend to avoid this discussion because such an engagement would force them to disclose (and question) their own decision to abandon Paul in favor of Freud. And since so much of evangelical identity rests on “family values,” such a discussion is akin to the RCC discussing the merits of the Papacy. It’s easier to fire one professor and stick your head back into the sand.

    Like

  25. Bobby, you always seem to find what you’re looking for, but then you stop. But continue:

    “may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.
    19 A loving doe, a graceful deer—
    may her breasts satisfy you always,
    may you ever be intoxicated with her love.”

    This doesn’t sound like “have sex if you must, you perv, but you should only do it to make babies.”

    Like

  26. @Muddy

    Nor is it a commendation of recreational sex, a la Keller, Bayly, and Discoll.

    I thought that you historical-critical guys always interpreted Scripture’s ambiguous statements in ways that don’t vitiate the meaning of those that are more clear? I guess that’s the case except when it comes to embracing recreational sex. If you think that Paul was wrong, then just say so.

    Like

  27. Bobby, it’s basic exegesis to do justice to all of the scriptures by giving them proper weight and finding harmony in them. You have taken Paul’s letters and opposed them to Proverbs, the Song of Solomon, etc. Paul wasn’t writing sex manuals and he wasn’t working out a full-blown theology of sex. He was defending the legitimacy of the unmarried life and dealing, in an unadorned fashion, with how to deal with sexual urges. And you have the clarity backwards – the Proverbs passage is pretty clear about the legitimacy of enjoying sex while, in epistles, Paul was dealing in an ad hoc fashion with issues in the churches. It wasn’t the time for him to write poetry or re-write what has already been expressed in the scriptures.

    Now, if you’re saying we don’t need any more sex advice from John Piper or biweekly articles on sex from The Gospel Coalition then we’re on the same page. However, the fact that these give disproportionate emphasis to sex doesn’t make it evil or strictly utilitarian.

    Like

  28. Now, in the Romans passage Paul was dealing with the excess and misdirection of sexual urges. That some use it in excess or outside of proper boundaries does not make the thing itself an evil any more than gluttony makes food evil or drunkenness makes alcohol evil.

    Like

  29. Bobby,

    1. What Muddy said.

    2. You are far overstating things. No doubt evangelicals have been influenced by modern notions of marriage, but to say that the idea that Paul didn’t think heterosexuality was the creational norm is frankly laughable. In fact, if Paul were saying sex is right only for procreation, that assumes the heterosexual binary.

    3. To say that notions of heterosexuality/homosexuality are purely modern notions is way off base. Certainly that way of speaking is more recent, but Paul certainly knew people who struggled with homosexual attraction, at least before they became Christians. Just read 1 Cor. 6: “such were some of you.”

    4. If Paul thought the only legitimate purpose for sex was procreation, where are the commands for older people who have gone through menopause to refrain from sexual relations. In fact, the only reason Paul gives for abstinence is mutual consent for the purpose of prayer. If you’re right, we’d have commands to cease sexual activity altogether once menopause has passed.

    5. Paul’s also coming out of Jewish culture in which to my knowledge, sexual relations were not limited to procreation.

    6. Historically, sex only for procreation has not been the Protestant response. It might be true of Augustine, but that’s really not something that the Reformers kept. See the Puritans. So evangelicals who oppose homosexuality are frankly standing in a long tradition to also affirm “recreational sex” in marriage.

    You’re just way off base on most what you are saying here. Now are our definitions of masculinity and felinity often more defined by our culture that we then read into the Bible? Certainly, and we need to be aware of that. But the fact that complementarians might stretch things at time in their push back against modern feminism doesn’t mean they are opposing homosexuality and marriage because they are unthinking bigots.

    And believe me, I don’t want to see another book from an evangelical that makes it seem that marriage should be all sex all the time. I don’t want to know how often a pastor has sex with his wife, and I don’t want to see or hear another preacher use the Song of Solomon as a how-to manual for sexual fulfillment.

    Like

  30. RubeRad – Bingo. Show me where in the bible a marriage must be officiated by a
    religious authority (or where a religious authority is authorized to officiate a marriage).

    If it were a biblical requirement, wouldn’t pre-married converts have to be re-married?

    I believe God, The Highest Religious Authority, officiated the very first marriage
    between Adam & Eve, Christians ought to vow before God as for unbelievers well
    let the ” dead bury there own dead “.

    Like

  31. Muddy Gravel
    Posted October 10, 2015 at 9:29 pm | Permalink
    Why are they talking about sex so much? Duh, sex sells. Next question.

    Not that anyone is capable of staying on topic in Dr Calvinism’s Fun House esp Dr Calvinism hisself, but the Puritans unashamedly enjoyed sex with their wives by Christian marriage.

    Enjoyed it lot. Making babies should be fun. That’s the way God planned it.

    You could look it up.

    Like

  32. @Muddy

    I’m simply saying that you can’t properly exegete Song of Songs in a manner that contradicts what Paul says in I Corinthians 7, Romans 1, and elsewhere. Besides, it’s only in the past 50-100 years that Christians have moved away from viewing recreational sex within marriage as sinful. And we didn’t do this because we were more persuaded by the wisdom literature of the Old Testament than Paul’s rather clear statements in his epistles. That was a post hoc argument at best. No, we made that shift because we decided that Paul’s view of sex was contextually conditioned and therefore not binding on modern Christians. Of course, that poses certain problems if we want to rely on Paul to justify our opposition to gay sex.

    Or, as you suggest, perhaps Paul was just referring to excessive amounts of recreational sex. But if that’s the case, why wouldn’t we interpret Romans 1 in the same way? In fact, that’s exactly the argument that Gushee, Vines, and Brownson all make in their respective books.

    I don’t see that I’m making a remarkable point here. Carl Trueman has made much the same point on several occasions.

    Like

  33. It’s not clear to me that you even know what heterosexuality is. It refers to social expressions of one’s sex, not to the male-female dyad itself. Sure, it takes a male and a female to procreate. But I see no reason why that dyad necessarily requires males and females to conform respectively to certain sexualized social scripts. In other words, I see no reason why the male-female dyad necessarily requires a particular masculine-feminine dyad. But that’s the assumption of heterosexuality: It assumes that the social identity is based primarily on one’s sexual desire toward members of the opposite sex, and sets about trying to define “normal” social expressions of sexuality. This is all Freudian bunk. It’s nowhere in Scripture, and has no progeny whatsoever before the late 1800s. Yes, such ideas were widely promulgated in the US in the post-WWII decades, and much evangelical thinking about sex has accepted Freudian social theory rather uncritically. But that doesn’t make it right. And it certainly doesn’t mean that Paul was channeling Freud when he penned his epistles to Christians in the First Century.

    As to I Corinthians 6, you’re reading a mistranslation of the Greek text. No one ever suggested such a translation of that passage until the 20th Century, i.e., after Freudian thinking had come to influence our thinking about sex.

    I Corinthians 7:5 is an instruction for one party to the marriage not to deprive the other party of certain expected benefits of the marital arrangement. This would only include recreational sex if we were to assume that engagement in recreational sex is one such benefit. Sure, we may wish that Paul had given more specifics as to his view of sex. He didn’t. Besides, the issue of recreational sex isn’t one that became relevant until the advent of contraceptives. At the time, few women lived long enough to experience menopause. And because sex was forbidden during most of the period of female infertility, sex generally carried the probability of procreation.

    Protestant teaching on the issue has generally come down against recreational sex, although not universally so. Certain Puritans represent a notable exception. Even so, it was not until the middle of the 20th Century that conservative Protestants moved away from viewing recreational sex as sinful. As an example, my mainline Presbyterian grandparents on both sides refrained from recreational sex (or so they said).

    I don’t think I’m way off base here. Prohibitions against recreational sex were the norm in Christianity from the early church until the 20th Century. There were dissenting views that arose from time to time, e.g., certain Puritans. But such views never represented anything approaching a majority–even among Protestants–until the 20th Century. Then, over the course of the past 100 years, we’ve moved to the point where evangelicals now construe marriage primarily as a celebration of recreational sex.

    I’m not sure what goes through the minds of most evangelicals on these issues. I tend to think that guys like Piper and Keller look more like liars than bigots. Their “theology” of sex clearly owes more to Freud than to Paul. So, they should stop pretending like they’re trying to be biblical.

    Like

  34. Bobby,

    But you are way off base here. Yes heterosexuality as a “I am heterosexual hear me roar” identity is more recent, but to suggest that there was no notion of this and that the male-female dyad as the only proper context for sexual relations is foreign to Paul and the Bible. The latter demands some notion of the former. If we want to speak more biblically, Paul’s notion is that by nature all are heterosexuals, even if he doesn’t use that term. With regard to sexual activity, he clearly believes that to be man and act as God intended is that if you’re going to have sex, it must be with a woman.

    As far as 1 Cor. 6, Paul is clearly saying that before Christ, some of the Corinthians were active partners in sex between males and some were passive. Use of terms such as “homosexual” in translations of that passage are simply there because that helps modern people understand what Paul is saying without having to add too many words. The idea that Paul did not believe that such relationships were without sexual desire, which seems to be what is necessary for what you are saying to be true, is ridiculous. He was too well traveled and homosexual behavior was too accepted in the first century for it to be true otherwise.

    And again, Paul is coming out of a Jewish culture that did not condemn recreational sex in marriage, as far as I know. He wasn’t shy about coming out and stating what aspects of Judaism shouldn’t be brought over into Christianity, so his silence on this matter is deafening. Furthermore, 1 Cor. 7 says nothing about infertile couples refraining from sex. The only reason not to have sexual relations is by mutual consent for the sake of prayer. Paul doesn’t say anything about sex being proper only for procreation. And all of the positive teaching on sex in the Bible says nothing about that either. Be fruitful and multiply is about the only passage you can use to support that, but again, you have to deal with natural revelation. Our bodies are built to enjoy sex whether it is the time of fertility or not, and we also have sexual desire even when it is impossible to conceive a child. You’re ignoring those realities. If God intended sex only for procreation, he certainly could have built us otherwise such that sex is only a sustenance level thing and not enjoyable—sort of like people won’t fail to eat gruel if that is all there is because they know it is necessary to sustain life.

    Fewer women lived to menopause, but certainly enough did for there to be needed some kind of rule if sex during infertile periods was wrong. Further, the laws are against sexual relations during menstruation due to the contact with blood, as contact with life fluids is what makes people unclean (and even then, it’s not the case that unclean=sinner in such instances). But we know from modern science that you can be infertile and not menstruate. It’s not as if the female body says “alright, fertilzation is now absolutely impossible, time to menstruate.” If the Mosaic law, i.e. God, intended to prohibit sex during periods of infertility it would have said more and not speak so generally.

    As far as prohibitions against recreational sex being the norm in Protestantism, I’d like to see evidence for this. It certainly doesn’t seem like Luther would have said. I think you might be conflating this with stands against birth control, which were nearly universal. But saying that you should not impede the possibility of procreation is different than saying sex is only proper when done for procreative purposes. And further, even if that was the majority view among Protestants, it’s entirely possible that they were reading Scripture incorrectly.

    Now the notion that marriage is primarily for celebrating recreational sex is certainly a modern concept, and to the extent that evangelicals have thought this they are wrong. But I certainly don’t think it is clear that such is what Keller and Piper are advocating. If they were, they wouldn’t marry people who are physically incapable of having sex, and they would say you should forbid such a thing. Calling them liars is a bit much. Perhaps they’ve been influenced by modern notions of sex and are unaware of it, but that hardly means that teaching the propriety of sex even during periods of infertility is unbiblical.

    Like

  35. Tom,

    Divorce is in the Bible. Jesus forbids it. Protestantism permits it. The point holds. Annulment is a separate discussion.

    Not in cases of sexual infidelity. And Paul allows it for desertion. Annulment is the product of bad interpretation that says divorce is wrong but man, we really need to find an end work around for it. It’s patently ridiculous to go back after the fact and say “these people were never really married to begin with.” This just shows how bad RC exegesis is. This is the problem with an authoritarian fallible institution. Can’t admit the biblical interpretation is wrong, so lets cheat. It’s like modern orthodox communities who hang a wire bounding a whole neighborhood and calling that space a home so that they can make the permissible Sabbath-day’s journey longer.

    Like

  36. TVD: Divorce is in the Bible. Jesus forbids it. Protestantism permits it. The point holds. Annulment is a separate discussion.

    Jesus didn’t completely forbid divorce, but He does hate it; Annulment IS another discussion – like a discussion about mockery? and since God is not mocked there’ll probably be a lot of ‘splaining to do one day….Go ahead and sin (when divorce is a sin); work up a rationalization for it; then have it endorsed by the ‘Church’…
    ””for a marriage to be valid in the eyes of the’ Church’…there must be the abilty to make a mature and responsible decision in accepting the duties that are assumed with marriage” ….
    must include somelike like.. the immaturity of not accepting the fact you were marrying another sinner just like yourself and it would not be all just a piece of cake?

    rationalization in my divorce –“ I just don’t love you anymore”….maybe legit enough to fit into annulment guidelines?

    Dietrich Bonhoeffer: “It is not your love that sustains the marriage, but from now on, the marriage that sustains your love”

    Like

  37. Luther doesn’t seem opposed to sportf’ing:

    Hi – I’m reading “Luther on the Christian Life: Cross and Freedom (Theologians on the Christian Life)” by Carl R. Trueman, Robert Kolb and wanted to share this quote with you.

    “Luther regarded sex as a great good. Indeed, when he wrote to the newly married George Spalatin in late 1525, he commented that he intended to guess when the Spalatins would receive the letter so that he might make sure he and Katie were engaged in lovemaking at the same time as the newlyweds. Perhaps it is my English sensibility , but if I had been Spalatin or, perhaps even more so, Mrs. Spalatin or Mrs. Luther, I would have found that thought somewhat off-putting. It does, however, speak eloquently of Luther’s enjoyment of lovemaking, despite all the theological rhetoric about sex being an outlet for lust. ”

    From “Luther on the Christian Life: Cross and Freedom”

    Author is Carl Trueman

    Like

  38. One of these days I’ll learn how to cut and paste from Kindle without carrying over all the extraneous matter

    Like

  39. @Robert

    I’m actually arguing a position that I don’t actually believe. That being said, as a non-evangelical, I’m not of the camp that posits that the Bible speaks clearly and unequivocally on these matters.

    I see only two possible readings of Paul that would make sense within his context: (1) that “against nature” is better translated as “beyond nature,” thereby leading to the conclusion that Paul is merely condemning sexual excess; or (2) that “against nature” is best translated as “contrary to nature,” which in that day would mean something akin to “absent procreational intent,” thereby leading to the conclusion that Paul is condemning non-procreative sex.

    I actually agree with Muddy that the first of these two options makes better sense, even though that’s the minority view throughout church history. So, I actually don’t believe that Paul is condemning non-procreative sex; rather, he is condemning sexual excess.

    To most evangelicals, that’s an unsatisfying answer. After all, if there’s a hallmark of evangelicals, it’s that they believe that the Bible must necessarily speak clearly and unequivocally to the social issues of the late 20th Century. “Heaven forbid that Scripture be silent on such things and leave us with ambiguous answers to which we must apply godly wisdom,” says the evangelical.

    I’d suggest that that’s why the Freudian revisionist readings of Paul have gained such popularity in evangelical circles. In fact, such revisionist readings have become so commonly accepted within evangelical circles that you’re not even cognizant of your heavy reliance on such concepts. In that sense, Freudian heterosexism has become a metaphysical lens through which you see the world. In fact, you take it so much for granted that you can’t even imagine that Paul wouldn’t have had that in mind, even though the notion of heterosexuality is basically an invention of conservative Freudian social theorists in the late 19th Century. All that to say… It is utterly implausible to suggest that Paul has heterosexuality in mind in any of his writings on sexuality. Evangelicals adopted the Freudian Paul out of convenience, as the Freudian Paul gave them what they wanted: a clear license to engage in lots of recreational sex, and clear prohibitions against gay sex.

    In my opinion, Scripture offers no clear across-the-boards prohibition against gay sex. So, we’re left to sort this out through the exercise of godly wisdom. To that end, perhaps Freud offers cogent insights as to the wisdom of gay sex. In fact, I think he does. But if we’re going to rely on Freud and his socially conservative prolocutors as the source of our ethical decision-making, then we need to be honest about our sources. We need to stop trying to transform Paul into a forerunner of Freudian thought, and simply deal with Freudian thought on its own terms. Forcing the Bible to speak on matters where it is largely silent doesn’t do it any justice: In fact, such chicanery makes a mockery of it. We need to accept that Scripture is often insufficient to answer the questions we might wish that it answered, and set ourselves to the exercise of godly wisdom on such matters. And as we set out on that quest, we need to accept that we will never be more than “probably right.”

    On the question at hand, I tend to believe that there are plenty of decent reasons for abstaining from gay sex. In fact, I have my doubts as to whether there is such a phenomenon as homosexuality. In my experience (as someone who once identified as gay and no longer does), most people identify as gay because they are protesting against their social environment’s effort to coerce them to perform according to certain overly rigid gender scripts. So, in some ways, I tend to think that the proponents of reparative therapy are correct in certain respects, although I question their motives.

    I would summarize with two questions and answers.

    Does Scripture clearly condemn gay sex? No.
    Does that mean that it’s therefore wise to engage in it? No.

    And therein lie the reasons why I’m not an evangelical. First, I believe that it’s ok to answer the first question in the negative on important ethical questions. I’m content to let Paul be Paul, and not force him to become a commentator on a side host of 21st-Century social issues. Second, I believe that the second question is worth asking. In other words, I believe that godly wisdom drawn from God’s general revelation has an important role to play in Christian ethics.

    Like

  40. @Dan

    Good quote from Trueman’s book. Note that Luther arrives at his conclusion via the exercise of godly wisdom, and sees no need to force Paul or Jesus to become a proponent of his cause. A few years ago, a friend gave me an article by David Gordon, who teaches at Grove City College. The article was entitled, “The Insufficiency of Scripture.” In it, Gordon makes the point that evangelicals often end up making unwise choices because they eschew wisdom altogether and end up seeking guidance from Scripture on issues where Scripture provides little guidance.

    A good friend of mine teacher organic chemistry at an evangelical college. He’s noted that he’s called more people to the ministry than any theology professor on campus. He also noted that these “calls” from God often emerge at the end of a semester when the student in question rarely did his homework, skipped most study sessions, and, on sunny afternoons, rushed through a 4-hour lab exercise in 2 hours so that he could join his buddies for a round of golf. In a secular university, the student would simply have to confront the fact that he is lazy and therefore unfit for the medical profession. But in an evangelical context, the student’s laziness becomes a “calling” from God.

    Like

  41. Bobby, Romans neither states nor implies the necessity of a procreative end to all sexual activity. Neither Calvin, Luther, Hodge, or Murray note it in their commentaries. They all see a condemnation of homexual sex. Does wisdom begin with Bobby? Novelty and innovation are seldom theological virtues. Can you not receive the inherited wisdom of our Christian forbears?

    Like

  42. Bobby, true that eeeevangelicals want “license to engage in lots of recreational sex and clear prohibitions against gay sex,” and even wanting it from holy writ, but your reasoning from the Freudian Paul seems a bit tortured (like MG says, Paul is clearly opposing homosexuality, not sexual excess). More plausible that they are simply pragmatic moralists and hedonists. Is that too blunt? Not if the pied Piper can speak so approvingly of (Christian) hedonism.

    Like

  43. “. In a secular university, the student would simply have to confront the fact that he is lazy and therefore unfit for the medical profession…”

    I was a student at a Christian College and now a prof at a public Research university. Organic was indeed a weed out course that helped a lot of my fellow students find more appropriate career aspirations…the more typical outs were education or business. I occasionally teach the weed out course for aspiring engineers…these students follow similar, less demanding routes such as ed, bus, and prelaw. In grad school, mba and law programs were outs for students who failed their qual. Not sure ministry was really all that common or what that says about the intellectual rigor of business, law or medical professions. I certainty don’t see much difference between cccu and public university students in this regard.

    Like

  44. Bobby,

    I’d suggest that that’s why the Freudian revisionist readings of Paul have gained such popularity in evangelical circles. In fact, such revisionist readings have become so commonly accepted within evangelical circles that you’re not even cognizant of your heavy reliance on such concepts. In that sense, Freudian heterosexism has become a metaphysical lens through which you see the world. In fact, you take it so much for granted that you can’t even imagine that Paul wouldn’t have had that in mind, even though the notion of heterosexuality is basically an invention of conservative Freudian social theorists in the late 19th Century. All that to say… It is utterly implausible to suggest that Paul has heterosexuality in mind in any of his writings on sexuality. Evangelicals adopted the Freudian Paul out of convenience, as the Freudian Paul gave them what they wanted: a clear license to engage in lots of recreational sex, and clear prohibitions against gay sex.

    But it’s one thing to say that Paul and anyone before the 20th century didn’t have a social category of heterosexuality in mind, and another that Paul didn’t see the male-female binary as normative or that the male’s desire for the female isn’t definition of what it means to be male according to Scripture. You’re really straining here I think.

    And heterosexism is as much a social construct as heterosexuality. If the male-female relationship is the norm, its not sexist to assume as much.

    In my opinion, Scripture offers no clear across-the-boards prohibition against gay sex. So, we’re left to sort this out through the exercise of godly wisdom. To that end, perhaps Freud offers cogent insights as to the wisdom of gay sex. In fact, I think he does. But if we’re going to rely on Freud and his socially conservative prolocutors as the source of our ethical decision-making, then we need to be honest about our sources. We need to stop trying to transform Paul into a forerunner of Freudian thought, and simply deal with Freudian thought on its own terms.

    But the problem is that you’re in the minority here. In fact, the only people who would agree on there being no across the board prohibition on gay sex are individuals such as David Gushee who is plainly driven by his experience with people who identify as homosexual. Robert Gagnon has written probably the standard work on the issue, and he would certainly not agree with you. Robert Hays has written on the subject as well. But it’s not just conservative or conservative-leaning scholars. Luke Timothy Johnson, for example, is a centrist RC biblical scholar who has written on Paul and said that Paul condemned homosexual activity unequivocally, but that Paul was simply wrong and should not be followed on this. As an undergrad I had a prominent Christian ethicist who was also RC and said that the Bible is entirely negative on homosexual practice but that the Bible is wrong. And the voices can be multiplied. As far as I know, anyone who tries to make the Bible not condemn homosexual acts is in the minority in the community of biblical scholars. Most who don’t teach at evangelical schools seem content to say the Bible condemns homosexual acts but that the Bible is wrong.

    Forcing the Bible to speak on matters where it is largely silent doesn’t do it any justice: In fact, such chicanery makes a mockery of it. We need to accept that Scripture is often insufficient to answer the questions we might wish that it answered, and set ourselves to the exercise of godly wisdom on such matters. And as we set out on that quest, we need to accept that we will never be more than “probably right.”

    And in essence, I agree with you here.

    I believe that it’s ok to answer the first question in the negative on important ethical questions. I’m content to let Paul be Paul, and not force him to become a commentator on a side host of 21st-Century social issues. Second, I believe that the second question is worth asking. In other words, I believe that godly wisdom drawn from God’s general revelation has an important role to play in Christian ethics.

    And I agree here as well. But we’re not talking about human cloning, IVF, or anything else that was unknown and could not have really been anticipated in Paul’s day. Homosexual acts were widely accepted in the first-century culture, and Paul most certainly would have had some knowledge of the issue being a well-traveled and well-educated fellow.

    Like

  45. Zrim,

    More plausible that they are simply pragmatic moralists and hedonists. Is that too blunt?

    I always thought it was more a reflection of a (bad) attempt to reach the culture. “Hey guys, sex is good but the sex that Christians have is even better, so that’s another good reason to become a Christian.”

    Like

  46. @Zrim

    Muddy actually took the opposite position, above, i.e., that Paul is referring to sexual excess. Moreover, I have my doubts as to whether Paul can be said to speak clearly on any modern social issue. That’s not to say that the church should approve of gay sex. But no proper critical analysis of the passages in question would lead one to conclude that Paul is “clearly” making his opinion known on ideas that wouldn’t arise for another 1800 years.

    Like

  47. I referred to sexual excess and misdirection, not an opposite position. But you follow Paul until you don’t like what he says. Gay sex didn’t flower as an issue until now? That’s a bizarre position.

    Like

  48. Robert, that too. Add to the mix five & dime worldviewry.

    Bobby, that sounds like the same reasoning the egalitarians use to ordain the fairer sex and the resistance theorists use to flout civil authorities. True, Paul couldn’t have ordinarily anticipated some of the virtues that modernity gives us, but it’s pretty clear that he he didn’t affirm homosexuality (restrained or excessive), female ordination or resisting the powers that be. How those views translate into our contemporary scene is also not as clear, but only creative theorizing to fit an agenda (and thereby lend it powerful religious sanction) says otherwise.

    Like

  49. @Muddy @Zrim

    I’m referring to homosexuality, which refers to a social script that embodies an alleged homosexual orientation. I think it’s fair to say that Paul had no notion whatsoever of sexual orientation, as the concept largely relies on assumptions about human psychology that didn’t emerge until the late 1800s. For what it’s worth, those assumptions have largely been rejected, and rightfully so.

    Moreover, I never said that Paul affirmed gay sex. I simply said that the passages in question don’t set forth an across-the-boards ban on gay sex. That’s especially true in view of the fact that evangelicals must necessarily interpret those passages as referring only to sexual excess if they believe that Paul is not condemning recreational sex. So, that leaves us with the task of exercising godly wisdom, which, in my view, points toward maintaining the church’s traditional demurral of gay sex. I thought that I made that clear. So, I don’t know where you get the idea that I’m advocating the affirmance of gay sex.

    And, yes, for what it’s worth, I don’t believe that it’s proper to read Paul as promoting perpetual conformity to hierarchical (i.e., patriarchal) gender roles. Nor am I willing to part with Nicene formulations of the Trinity to enable me to conclude that Paul favored the perpetual subordination of women to men.

    My only agenda is to ensure that we hear Paul as Paul, and do so without forcing Paul to take sides on various contemporary theological issues on which his writings are largely silent. I agree that evangelical positions on sex and marriage reflect pragmatic considerations more than theological considerations. I see nothing wrong with that, as long as folks admit that they’re doing that.

    When we improperly force the biblical writers to become promoters of our various hobby-horse theological positions, we’re effectively making ourselves out to be prophets. We’re passing off our own opinions as if God had uttered them. Even if our opinions reflect a good weight of godly wisdom, we are still not entitled to read them back into Scripture itself. The evangelical tendency to do this is what led Harold Bloom to compare evangelicals to Mormons. To Bloom, the chief difference between the two groups is that Mormons are explicit about their prophetic additions to the Christian canon, while evangelicals revise their interpretations of the existing biblical text and pretend that their prophetic additions were there all along. If I had to choose between becoming an evangelical or becoming a Mormon, I would likely choose the latter for that reason. Mormons simply seem like a more intellectually honest bunch.

    Like

  50. Bobby,

    That’s especially true in view of the fact that evangelicals must necessarily interpret those passages as referring only to sexual excess if they believe that Paul is not condemning recreational sex.

    That’s a non sequitur. Paul can condemn sexual excess and homosexual acts without affirming that the only legitimate purpose of sex is procreation. That simply isn’t what Scripture teaches.

    Like

  51. Bobby,

    My only agenda is to ensure that we hear Paul as Paul, and do so without forcing Paul to take sides on various contemporary theological issues on which his writings are largely silent. I agree that evangelical positions on sex and marriage reflect pragmatic considerations more than theological considerations. I see nothing wrong with that, as long as folks admit that they’re doing that.

    Sure, but Paul’s writings aren’t largely silent on the issue. Besides Romans 1 and 1 Cor. 6, you have the wider condemnations of sexual immorality, which from a Jewish perspective did not include recreational sex within marriage as far as I am aware. And then there are all of the implicit and explicit references to the Genesis story, which clearly sets the proper context for sexual relations as male-female marriage, as well as Paul’s assumption of the sex laws in Leviticus when he condemns the incestuous relationship in Corinth, which laws also forbid homosexual acts. There’s just too much evidence that you’re not dealing with, and as I’ve noted, this is something that even liberal biblical scholars recognize.

    When we improperly force the biblical writers to become promoters of our various hobby-horse theological positions, we’re effectively making ourselves out to be prophets. We’re passing off our own opinions as if God had uttered them. Even if our opinions reflect a good weight of godly wisdom, we are still not entitled to read them back into Scripture itself.

    Sure, but on this issue you haven’t made a convincing exegetical case or even a convincing historical one that Protestants across the board viewed recreational sex within marriage as a no-no until 100 years ago or so.

    The evangelical tendency to do this is what led Harold Bloom to compare evangelicals to Mormons. To Bloom, the chief difference between the two groups is that Mormons are explicit about their prophetic additions to the Christian canon, while evangelicals revise their interpretations of the existing biblical text and pretend that their prophetic additions were there all along.

    It’s a danger for all of us, which is why the exegetical case has to be made. Some have tried to make the case that Paul isn’t talking about all homosexual acts or relationships, but their work is just bad. It’s so bad that liberal scholars just say their intellectually honest position: “Paul condemns all homosexual acts, but Paul was wrong.”

    If I had to choose between becoming an evangelical or becoming a Mormon, I would likely choose the latter for that reason. Mormons simply seem like a more intellectually honest bunch.

    Okay, now you’re getting ridiculous. Mormons who have covered up Smith’s chicanery and have intentionally downplayed their differences with Christian orthodoxy in order to present themselves as just another Christian denomination are more intellectually honest?

    Like

  52. Much of what the bible says about sex is rather utilitarian and matter-of-fact. I think I’m glad it says less rather than more, but that also gives the sexy evangelicals and New Cals lots of room to be ridiculous.

    Like

  53. cw: lots of room to be ridiculous.

    aw cw, couldn’t it also said to be ridiculous not to take the blinders off about sexual sin ‘in the church’ of which marital enjoyment is not one of them, unless, of course it too become idolatry

    Like

  54. Ali, New Cals and sexy ‘gelicals have a problem with TMI and say too much about too much. Leave some room for individual situations within the bounds of the law. And next time in English, please.

    Like

  55. @Robert

    Peace, bro’. It’s clear that you’ve got you’re too psychologically invested in your position. So, I see no reason to continue.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s